5
Moderate

Traveler Rating

 

Activities
  • 7 days self guided hiking
Accommodation
  • 8 nights B&B's/guesthouses

Price

9 daysfrom

$1699USD

Overview

Trip code: ETR

Trip highlights


  • Enjoy stunning coastal multi-day hiking
  • Opportunities to spot whales, icebergs, puffins, and moose
  • Discover colourful and historic fishing villages and communities
  • Step foot on the most easterly point of North America
  • Experience first-hand friendly Newfoundland hospitality
  • Lunch with a view on a Ferryland Lighthouse Picnic

As whale pods patrol an emerald coast, sea birds flutter overhead in the salty fresh breeze, while plump golden bakeapples sprout across windswept barrens. Bright-painted clapboard houses sit alongside worn nets and lobster traps. With this stunning coastal beauty enriched by colourful seafaring communities, it’s little wonder Newfoundland captures the imagination. Comprised of 26 wilderness paths totalling over 300km/186mi along the province’s Avalon Peninsula, the East Coast Trail covers towering cliffs, deep fjords, dense greenery and dramatic sea-stacks, arches and ocean caves. Our itinerary gathers the very best of these trails while removing all your logistical headaches, lightening your load with friendly transfers and providing comfortable, authentic accommodation too. Offering plenty of flexibility, Newfoundland’s nature and culture are on full display, from popular day hikes along Cape Spear and Deadman’s Bay to the less-trafficked wonders at Flamber Head and Berry Head. You’ll meet the story-rich characters that breathe life into the coastal communities, and discover the history and seafood available in small villages from Quidi Vidi and Petty Harbour all the way to the capital of St John’s. The East Coast Trail is less arduous but no less stunning than its western counterpart, an unforgettable adventure no come-from-away will want to miss.


Itinerary

Welcome to the windy, colourful and boisterous capital of Newfoundland. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your charming B&B in the centre of town (details are provided with your final documents). Spend the rest of the day exploring one of the oldest cities in North America, discovering its bright-painted heritage houses and buildings, restaurants, galleries and antique shops. Your accommodation is also close to the legendary nightlife and live music on George Street.

Meals:  Nil

Technically today’s loop is not part of the East Trail, but it’s too beautiful to miss. We walk along a lake north of St John’s to the old fishing village of Quidi Vidi (pronounced Kiddy Viddy), which is home to the province’s largest microbrewery, and an acclaimed restaurant in one of the oldest buildings in North America (lunch reservations are required). After refreshing yourself with Quidi Vidi’s Iceberg beer, made with the pure waters of 20,000-year-old iceberg water, head over to the Sugarloaf Path located at the southern end of the ECT. It’s a solid hike up to the top of Bowdens Highland for an incredible view over the village, and St John’s in the distance. The walk back to your B&B in the city follows a gorgeous coastal path, crossing the National Historic Site of Signal Hill and the Battery of St John’s Harbour.

Meals:  B

Your friendly local driver-guide will shepherd you this morning to the southernmost end of the East Coast Trail, where you’ll explore the fishing villages and abandoned settlements of Renews-Cappahayden. From here, you’ll head up to Ferryland, one of the oldest communities on the island, where you’ll be able to perform your own dig at the Colony of Avalon Archaeology Site or attend summer dinner theatre at the Arts Centre. Provided with a blanket, find your spot on the natural ocean-side terrace and order a delicious lunch a-la picnic basket*. From Ferryland, walk north on the trail to Calvert, where you will be picked up and transferred to your charming guesthouse for a tasty home-cooked dinner. *Picnics operate from late May to late September, subject to availability at time of booking

Meals:  B,L,D

If there’s a single photo of your trip that will stop people in their tracks, it will be the massive sea arch at Berry Head located on the Spurwink Island Path section of the trail. Chunks of the stratified archway continue to fall to the ground below, while the reflecting ocean window is sublime on a summer day. You have the option of hiking the full distance southwards from Aquaforte back to your accommodation or to do an out-and-back hike to the archway from your accommodation. Both options result in similar hiking distances, but the latter (out and back) route avoids the north section, which is a rugged hike through dense forest with few coastal views.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today, sparkling turquoise waters and cliffside boardwalk await you at La Manche Provincial Park. The 50-metre/164-foot long swaying La Manche suspension bridge is another highlight of the East Coast Trail, crossing a tranquil cove that once serviced a long-abandoned fishing village. You’ll continue south along the Flamber Head Path, one of the more remote, underrated sections of the ECT. The trail rolls over wooded hills, headlands and cliff-faces with sweeping coastal views, concluding at your pick-up point in the charming little harbour community of Brigus South. A home-cooked meal awaits back in Port Kirwan.

Meals:  B,L,D

After a hearty breakfast, you take on two of the easier sections of the East Coast Trail, commencing at the famous brightly-painted saltbox houses in the community of Tors Cove. With its epic views of blue ocean, rocks, field and forest, “the Cribbies” is the most photographed meadow in Newfoundland. It has one of the best views of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, and fairy-tale magic about the place. The trail hugs the shoreline with lovely shore and coastal views all the way to the reserve, which is a sanctuary for puffins and migrating seabirds. The area is also a popular feeding ground for humpback whales, so keep an eye out for tails and breaches.

Meals:  B,L

You will be picked up after breakfast and taken to the trail head at Petty Harbour for your hike to Cape Spear, the most easterly point of the continent, in the shadow of the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland and Labrador, and an iconic symbol of the province’s maritime history. Your hike will feature board-walked bog crossings, a variety of terrains, two river crossings and expansive views of deep swells rolling in across the Atlantic. You have plenty of time to explore the Cape Spear Lighthouse, which was originally built in 1836 and rebuilt in 1955 using the active light of the original lighthouse before you are transferred to St-John's.

Meals:  B,L

Your return path into the city begins in Blackhead, located just north of Cape Spear, and continues to Fort Amherst at the entrance to The Narrows of St John’s Harbour. Hilly, with a few steep climbs, the coastal path traces a long ridge along swimming holes, a former settlement, a unique barachois (stone crossing) and relics of the SS Thetis shipwreck. A placard at Fort Amherst, which still houses the remains of WWII gun emplacements and signs of the 17th century Ford Frederick, signals the end of the East Coast Trail. Your driver will greet you here to shuttle you to your final night’s accommodation in St John’s. Having ticked off some of the most magnificent hikes in Newfoundland, celebrate with some screech in the boisterous pubs on George Street.

Meals:  B,L

Services end after breakfast. We hope you enjoyed your stay at 'the Rock'!

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 3 dinners
  • 8 nights in B&B's/guesthouses
  • Luggage transfers (1 piece per person)
  • Airport arrival transfer
  • Transfers to/from trailheads as indicated in itinerary
  • Navigation APP inclusive of detailed route notes and points of interest (available offline while hiking)
  • Set of trail maps
  • Use of Garmin emergency communications device (1 per group)
  • $50 donation to the East Coast Trail Association

  • Travel to and from St. John's
  • Items of a personal nature including alcoholic beverages
  • Meals and transfers where not indicated in the itinerary
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Entrance fees and optional activities
  • Airport departure transfer
  • Applicable taxes

Accommodation


Suitability

Moderate

5

Daily walks are between 8km and 16km on well marked trails over diverse and often rugged terrain – from relatively flat to short, steep sections. Most of the walk is on trail with some boarded surfaces, exposed tree roots, and likely mud and/or rocks to scramble over. You should pay particular attention to your footwear to ensure that it is suitable to avoid blisters and rolling ankles. This is not a trip for breaking in new hiking boots! Be sure you have tried and tested your boots in wet conditions and over uneven terrain. Route finding will be reasonably straightforward (refer to information regarding self guided adventures) but days are long and weather conditions will be variable. The main areas to concentrate on route finding are arriving and leaving towns and cities, and along rocky shores. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to take in all of the views, with time to stop and take photos. You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. Self guided walking requires individuals to use problem solving skills, be adaptable and have a keen eye. It is recommended that you are comfortable map reading, referring to route notes and that you have a good sense of direction (or are willing to work on improving this!) Sometimes route finding, losing your way, finding it again and asking the locals for help is all part of the adventure. If you’ve never been on a self guided trip, after the first couple of days you will get the hang of if as the vast majority of our first time travellers attest. Please be assured that our written material issued to you for route finding is updated regularly and we provide local contact information in the event of any problems. There is a certain level of the unknown that comes with self guided trips, however with a methodical approach potential problems will be averted. The freedom of a self guided trip is something that, once experienced, is sought time and time again.


Departure dates

Monday to Friday from June through October

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Total Priceper person from

$1699USD

* All prices subject to applicable taxes

Options & Supplements*
  • SIngle SupplementUSD$520
  • Solo Traveller SupplementUSD$860
* Prices listed are per person. All prices subject to applicable taxes.

Trip reviews


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Everyone who works with us, from our office staff, ground staff and guides is the ‘’real deal’’. Our team is comprised of actual hikers and cyclists who have explored or live in the region in which you will be traveling. Our entire network is highly-specialised in active travel.

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Quality services at the best price make our active trips great value for money. Having essential items included like National Park fees, accommodations, most meals, bikes for cycling trips, maps and support for peace of mind. Our inclusions allow you to better budget for your big adventure.

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Hiking Newfoundland's East Coast Trail with Great Canadian Trails